Status: 09.12.2023, 08:17 a.m.
Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric gestures. © Uwe Anspach/dpa
The Croatian Kramaric has been at Hoffenheim for almost seven years now - and on many days he is still TSG's biggest attraction. Just like in the home win against Bochum.
Sinsheim - In football in this country, the term "Raumdeuter" actually belongs to Bayern star Thomas Müller - Andrej Kramaric once claimed it for himself without further ado after his gala performance for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. "I'm not going to talk about it, but I feel freer in the number ten position. I'd say it's similar to Thomas Müller," said the 32-year-old Croatian in an interview with DAZN after the sixth-placed side's 3-1 win over VfL Bochum at the start of Bundesliga matchday 14.
In front of just 16,023 spectators in Sinsheim on Friday evening, Kramaric helped Hoffenheim to their long-awaited second home win of the season. Thanks to a tactical change by coach Pellegrino Matarazzo - a back four in defence and a diamond in midfield - the 2018 World Cup runner-up and 2022 World Cup bronze medallist whirled with a huge radius of action and a lot of overview in attack. "Andrej is a fine spirit who needs his space. He has a brutal feel for space, for the game itself," praised his team-mate Grischa Prömel.
After an own goal by Bochum's Erhan Masovic (32nd minute), Kramaric scored his fifth goal of the season (43rd) and initiated the decisive 3-0 through Ihlas Bebou (76th). Portuguese Goncalo Paciencia's goal in the 90th minute came too late for VfL. Kramaric has now scored at least one goal against all current Bundesliga clubs in the top flight - Bochum was still missing from his list.
"Putting Andrej in the number ten position - you could see today that it was a good solution. It was a different kind of game," said a satisfied Matarazzo. TSG's record goalscorer, who usually plays as a midfielder, didn't want to make too much of a judgement on his role. "That's the job of you and the coach," Kramaric told journalists. Only this much: "I searched for my rooms, found my rooms. It worked out well today." On the ten, he also had fewer running distances to the back.
Last week in the defeat in Mönchengladbach, Kramaric only came off the bench, albeit also slightly injured. "We all know that sometimes the coach wants to give younger players a chance. But Kramaric remains Kramaric: "I'm still highly motivated, I showed that today," he said, adding with a laugh: "I still get mad when I don't play." dpa